Campaigners criticise Rishi Sunak’s failure to attend Macron finance summit
Rishi Sunak walks up Downing Street

Campaigners criticise Rishi Sunak’s failure to attend Macron finance summit

Date: 22 June 2023

  • PM signs open letter on green transition with group of leaders, but not expected to attend
  • Relying on private sector is ‘putting sharks in charge of the swimming pool’, campaigners say

Campaign group Global Justice Now has criticised Rishi Sunak for signing a letter ‘he doesn’t seem to have read’ as the prime minister prepares to avoid fellow leaders at the Summit for a New Global Financial Pact, starting in Paris today.(1)

Heads of government including the leaders of Germany, Brazil and Barbados are joining French president Emmanuel Macron at the summit, which aims to address a variety of global financial challenges including how to pay for agreed climate action and reversing the spike in global poverty caused by the pandemic.

Yesterday Sunak was among the signatories of a letter produced by Macron and signed by 13 international leaders calling for “a green transition that leaves no one behind”(2). But campaigners slammed the focus of the letter on private sector solutions, and highlighted Sunak’s refusal to properly tax polluters, cuts to the aid budget and more, amongst policies they say run directly counter to building a more green and resilient economy.

Izzie McIntosh, climate campaign manager at Global Justice Now said:

“Last year Rishi Sunak had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the COP27 climate summit, now he’s set for a Boris Johnson-style no-show at this crucial meeting on how to pay for the green transition.

“While it is welcome that Sunak has signed up to leaving no one behind, his actions point in the opposite direction – from slashing the aid budget, to failing to properly tax fossil fuel companies, to neglecting the growing debt crisis in the global south. It’s no wonder he won’t show his face in Paris – he doesn’t seem to have read the invitation.

“The Macron summit is asking the right questions, but after decades of leaving everything to the market, governments must stop passing the buck to the private sector to address global inequality. The market has got us into this, it won’t get us out. We need large-scale financial reform otherwise we’re putting sharks in charge of the swimming pool.

“Governments must take the lead. That means interventions to make polluting corporations pay for climate damage, force the rich to pay their rightful taxes, require banks to cancel unjust debts, and finally end the decades-long stitch up at the IMF and World Bank. It is a shameful failure that Sunak is making only a superficial effort to address these challenges.”

The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan agreed at COP27 last year highlighted that a global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investment of at least $4-6 trillion per year, and that “delivering such funding will require a transformation of the financial system and its structures and processes, engaging governments, central banks, commercial banks, institutional investors and other financial actors.”(3)


1. Western leaders snub Macron’s Paris summit on global finance, 21 June 2023,

2. Macron and world leaders call on private finance to help reduce global poverty, 21 June 2023,

3. COP27 Implementation Plan,

Photo: Rory Arnold/No 10 Downing Street